Friday, 30 December 2011

interview with a PRO: Matteo Gaddoni

Matteo is the coach and captain of Team Hard Disc Dogs from Italy. Several times world and European champion in Frisbee.  Since 2006 has also started practicing disc dog and now one of the greatest players even in this sport. A wonderful interview to close the year in the most beautiful of the way

Matteo and the warm up questions...

What sound or noise do you love? 
I love the sound of the sea and of the wind.. but also a flying disc produces a nice sound!

What song plays in your head this week ?
What a shame – Rolling Stones

Last time you opened the fridge / why?
10 minutes ago for a cold beer

Ok , I think is enough , let's pass to the interview
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself
My name is Matteo, I'm from Forlì, Italy. I started playing disc with friends, then I felt in love for freestyle disc and then went crazy for disc dog. My dogs are: Spike, 4 years old, border collie and Flower, 3 years old rescued border collie. Beside discdogging I enjoy also doing agility with Flower and obedience with Spike.

How did you get involved with frisbee?
I was 5 years old when I had my first rounded piece of plastic experience, I still remember that day, even if I hated the disc at that time: it was a very bad mold and it was impossible to make it fly straight. Then ten years later me and some good friends started to play throw and catch. We were addicted: spending full days at the park or at the beach.

You are a champion, that's indisputable, but did you also have some mentor or someone who inspires you, perhaps in the past ?
Of course yes! Everybody takes inspiration from others, the key is to make it yours, make it fitting to your style, instead of brutal copying without any personal feeling.
I try to pick up and learn something from everyone, but the most influeantial players for freestyle disc were: Tom Leitner, Rodney Sanchez, Pipo Lopez, Arthur Coddington and Randy Silvey; for discdog I had: Jochen Schleicher, Julia Zimmermann, Connie Sawiki and, of course, Lawrence Frederick.

Are you interested in other sports or hobbies as well as the Frisbee?
I love scuba diving and skiing even if in the last years I'm more focused on spending the more I can with my dogs, so I'm more on trekking in the last period. Love listening to music and watching movies, but the time is never enough.I also love bricolage but not always bricolage loves me.

When did you realize that your passion was to become something more?
It was during an interview, they asked me: 'what if your girlfriend will ask you: »me or frisbee« ' and my reply was quite easy: 'it would be the end of our relationship'.
I know it could sound very hard and not gentle, but this represent how much is importante frisbee for me.

What make you “special“?
Everybody is special. I think my values are on being sincere and trasparent which means sharing my feelings without filters to everybody around me, whether if the feelings are good or bad... I can't lie! So when I'm showing off a freestyle routine people can feel the energy and they get envolved easily in the mood.

Tell me a little bit about your start in dog sports?
I was in Berlin in the 2006 for the freestyle worlds and for the first time I saw a disc dog demonstration by Jochen Schleicher.. it was such a thrill! My first attempt was with my father's hunting dog, a very nice breton spaniel. I was trying to make her to catch a frisbee while my father was grawling at me: 'stop to ruin my hunting dog!'
So I had to quit and wait two long years before I could manage to get my own dog: the great Spike, my first border collie.

How much time you devote to training during the week (frisbee and disc dog)
My dogs are having some fun with disc almost everyday, except when we practice agility and obedience or when the weather is really bad. I practice some throws everyday as well, but I'm not freestyling myself so much anymore, I'm more focused on dogs in the last year. It's not easy to keep up with training two different sports, even if they can appear similar, they are long way different each other.

Where you see yourself in the 2015?
On some good green field having fun with my dogs! I don't have any special plan.. I just live my life day by day, trying to spend more time that I can with my dogs. I would love to see thousands of discdoggers with the same spirit we are playing now: having fun with the dogs.

Where you find the inspiration for new tricks ?
Usually I watch videos from competitions and try to find something new for me and my dogs, but sometimes it happens that practicing some trick, something else comes to my mind... and even few tricks came out of a dream while sleeping. And to be sincere.. two weeks in Jacksonville with Lawrence gave me inspirations for at least 5 years of discdogging :)

Favorite trick?
The next one i'm gonna learn! That's the main reason beside my love for disc sports like freestyle and discdog.. you are never done! There is always something new to learn and add to the bag.. to me it's very challenging and motivating: you got a new trick? Ok! Now do it upside down, or lefthanded, adding a spin, a jump, trying the other way around... it's endless!

Can you give our readers some tips that they should remember when training their dog?
Keep it fun and safe. Get inspirations from other players but make it yours by finding and building your own style. Be sincere and honest to you, to your dogs and to all the frisbee family.

What advice would give to someone participating at his first competition?
Go off and show us what you can do! Play like being at your usual field, don't think about judges, spectators.. just focus on your dog and on your game. Be positive and smile, your first competition is happening once in your life :)

What are your greatest satisfactions in your carrer?
The bigger one is the »frisbee family«. In these years I met so many people and got so many good friends all around the world that the world itself looks different to me right now. It's amazing to have frisbee friends in Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Puerto Rico, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Prague, Amsterdam...

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
One of my main strenghts is patience: this helps me with dogs and with people :) One of my main weaknesses is my memory: it's really hard for me memorizing people's names, appointments, agility traks...

If you do not practice this sport what would you have done in your life ?
Not sure, but probably I would go on and emprove my diving skills, I love scuba diving and taking underwater pictures.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Frisbee is an awesome sport, the spirit of the people involved is great, even if we see time by time some bad habits.. the only thing we can do is to point out the bad in order to make it evident to everybody coming into the sport.


Photos are a courtesy of Stefania Crosara

AWI EC 2011 Matteo Flower
By gaddoz

BCC 2009 Freestyle Finals Gaddoz & Spike
By gaddoz

FPAW 2010 Seattle
FreestyleDisc Players Association World Championships Paul Kenny - Jake Gauthier - Matteo Gaddoni / 2nd Place
by gaddoz


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